A Different Kind of Cross

Over the past couple of years, I have had a really hard lesson put before me.  These days, I find myself looking at it once again.  But right at this moment, I am seeing it from another point of view.

When we take a stand for truth in a way that requires courage and perseverance, it can be very difficult when the Lord Himself then seems to be asking us to let it go. 

“Let it go?!” we ask.  “Lord, was it not You who gave me this passion for the truth in the first place?!  Was it not You whom I was boldly serving by standing up for this truth?!’

And then He seems to say, “Yes, My son.  It was I who lit that fire in you by My very own Spirit.  But now I want you to set it down.”

“Then it wasn’t true after all?”

“I did not say that.”

“I do not understand.  If I set it aside, I’ll be saying that the truth does not matter.”

“Do you think that that was what My Son was saying when He allowed those who hated Him without cause to mock Him, beat Him, kill Him?”
“No. ”

“Would He not have been standing up for the truth, if He had refused to allow them to do those things?”

“Yes, He would have.”

“Indeed, He would have.  When He allowed Himself to suffer, He was letting Truth itself be killed by the children of the father of lies.”

“Ohhh…  I see…  I think…”

“There is more to see.  The story did not begin there.  He who walked the earth as the Living Truth spent three years testifying to the Truth.  Those who became His killers in the flesh at the end of those years had already murdered Him in their hearts many times before that, if only by hating the Truth that He brought to bear upon them.”

“But He stood up to them and told them the truth.”

“He did.  He loved them too much to let the lies go unchallenged.  In fact, at times He spoke with fire and anger, because to do otherwise would have shown neither the value of the Truth nor the vileness of the lies.”

“Yes, this is what I have said so many times.  To stand for the truth in that way is to follow the example of the Lord and His prophets and apostles.”

“It can be.  But only if it is in tandem with My Spirit.”

“Does the truth change, then?”

“No, I do not.  But the manner in which I would have you embody My Truth in the world does change.”

“You mean letting it go – ceasing to take a stand for the truth is a holy and right way to embody the Truth?”

“It can be.  You must learn to listen to Me.  In the end, the Truth is not a certain side of an argument.  The Truth is alive.  To know the Truth is to know a Person.  To love the Truth is to love Him.  To stand for the Truth is to stand for Him.”

“This is… hard…”

“I know.  It was very hard.”

“Was?”

“Remember.  When the time came, My Son paid the ultimate cost so that Truth would prevail in the end.”

“Oh, yes…  Thank You, Father.”

“But in doing so, He gave up His right to defend the Truth.  Having spoken the Truth with strength for three years, He now closed His mouth like a sheep before her shearers.”

“Is that what You ask of me?”

“It is right now.”

“But the people around me won’t see it that way.  They won’t know that I am giving up my right to insist on the truth.  They’ll interpret my silence as an admission of error.”

“I know.  I remember.”

“I… will… try…  but I don’t think I have the strength.”

“You definitely do not.  But I will give you strength for it, just as I gave You strength and conviction to stand for Truth in the first place.  And the best part is something you have yet to discover.”

“What is it, Lord?”

“I can tell you, but you will not know it until you walk the path.  In laying down your right to be right, You will learn of My Son.  You will know a taste of His own humiliation, His self-emptying.  You will, in fact, walk with Him as never before.”

“That does sound good.”

“You know it will be very good, indeed.  You know it because of the tastes of His life that you have had so far.  This will be more bitter than any of them, but it will be deeper and sweeter as well.”

“I will follow You, Lord.”

“I will lead you.”

 

 

I have never had such a conversation with God.  Not in words like that.  This has been a scripted version of a lesson that I have been learning.  It has been a lot easier to write this than it has been to live it out.  In fact, I am still in the throes of it.  I do not think I have lived it out as yet.  I probably never will, not in the sense of completing it.

And there are many things that I have not dealt with here.  For example, in this little bit of dialogue, I have pictured the Lord as taking for granted with me that I am basically in the right.  And I know that that is way too simplistic a portrayal.  Somehow, though I truly believe that I have basically been in a struggle for the truth, there is too much of me wrapped up in it.  It becomes hard to see where the righteous stand for the Lord’s truth ends and where my fleshly pride and self-promotion begins.  One very good benefit of the letting go is that, when I let the truth go, my self-interest must slip away with it.

But the first and main point for now was to show the difficulty of coming to grips with the idea that sometimes, to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ, I have to stop defending the truth as I see it.  And a second point is that this is doable because the Truth is a Person whose Spirit dwells in me, whose Life flows through me in a variety of ways and colors and textures.  Some will accuse me of being a relativist or a situationist.  That too is over-simplistic, but I won’t fight over that right now.  J  A third point is that there is a wonderful mystery to all of this.  Somehow I come to know the Lord Jesus Christ by loosening my grip and letting go in my struggle for the very truth I believe Him to have given me.

“and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously”  (I Peter 2:23)

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One thought on “A Different Kind of Cross

  1. Faith is to contemplate the situation and know that we can not prevail. Yet, know that God always will prevail. Truth will never alter…never change…never be hidden. The human capacity to look at truth and call it garbage is only surpassed by the power of God. Accept God’s perfect work in us according to his time and structure.

    “What God said to Abraham was not obey this law and I will bless you, but I will bless you; believe my promise” (Stott, p. 131)

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